Today we will explore the vampire myths of Bulgaria.
Bulgarians were serious about their vampires. They would keep their eyes on the living, (the living will die at some time, and who was to tell if the curse of the vampire would fall upon someone.) Therefore, they would watch the living, if you were a habitual drunk, thief, murder or a witch, you should be watched carefully. Those who enjoyed the above stated hobbies were believed to become vampires after death.
Bulgaria’s vampires were called Opyrb or Opirb in original Slavic but modernly they are called Vipir, Vepir or Vapir. They have evolved over centuries, but vampirism has always been associated with problems of death or burial. It was believed that spirits of the dead went on a journey guided by their guardian angel. After 40 days, the spirit then went to the next life. If the burial wasn’t done properly, (like a dog or cat jumped over the body or a shadow fell on it before burial; or it wasn’t washed correctly; or even if it died a violent death or died excommunicated from the church) the spirits may find their passage to the next life blocked. The family was responsible for the preparing the body. None of this let the funeral home take care of it, as we do in current times.
Popular Bulgarian vampire stories would go a little something like this: Frank (names have been changed to protect the vampires!) died in Boston three weeks ago. He moved to a little town in Montana. (No one in Montana knows dead Frank; they all think he’s alive Fred, thanks to the help of the black market and false documents). Alive Fred is getting down living the large live for years in Montana. Alive Fred falls in love with the town beauty and they get married 14 months later Fred as a little Freddy all bundled up in his mama’s arms. They have a huge party to welcome the newborn into the world, where Fred is seen drinking and eating, and all around being merry.
There is no way Fred could be dead Vampire Frank! I mean come on, he’s out in the day, eats human food, drinks alcohol, and has a kid. No vampire can do that! Well, Bulgarian Vampires could. Of course, Fred still craved blood and had to fulfill that craving or he’d become Dead Fred and Dead Vampire Frank, I mean really Dead!
The Gagauz people (the Gaguaz spoke their own language) of Bulgaria had their own vampire too. The Obur. Obur means glutton in Turkish. It was a gluttonous blood drinker. When the people decide they want to kill the Obur, they entice him with a banquet of food, because of his gluttonous ways he would come and pig out. A funny thing about the Obur, he’s capable of creating loud noises like firecrackers and he can move things poltergeist style.
Here is a little something something about Bulgarian Vampire Hunters, (just in case you’re down with the hunting of Vampires). A Djadadjii was a special hunter; he would chase a vampire while holding out a holy picture; one of Jesus, or the Virgin Mary, or another Christian saint. The vampire would run (hopefully he would take refuge in the set up trap). What trap? You may be asking. (Oh, this is good! Wait for it!) Djadadjii had set up a bottle with a little bit of the vampires favorite food. If everything worked out, the vampire would run into the bottle, the Djadadjii would cork it up and toss it into the fire. Bam! No more vampire.
Stay tuned! Next week will take a little look at another Bulgarian Vampire, the Ustrel.